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Kiwi author argues that politics should be more loving

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand writer Philip McKibbin says that politics should be more loving. He argues that love can help us to solve the biggest challenges of our time, including inequality, our use of animals in agriculture, and the climate crisis.

Mr McKibbin first started writing about the Politics of Love - a vision of politics which centres love, and celebrates values such as compassion, responsibility, and trust - in 2015, with his friend and fellow New Zealander Max Harris. Mr McKibbin has since written about this theory for outlets including The Guardian and The Spinoff, and he recently published a book with New York publisher Lantern Books, titled Love Notes: for a Politics of Love.

Mr McKibbin argues that love has the potential to unite us:

"Almost all of us recognise that love is extremely important. I believe that this concept can bring us together. What if, as well as governing our personal relationships, we allowed love to guide government policy as well? I think we would have much stronger communities, in which everyone is included and all of us are nurtured."

In his book, which is a collection of articles, essays, and presentations, Mr McKibbin explores a diverse range of issues, including marriage equality, international terrorism, and economic reform. The book has an international focus, but many of its examples are drawn from Aotearoa New Zealand and te ao Māori (the Māori world). Mr McKibbin is of Pākehā (New Zealand European) and Māori (Ngāi Tahu) descent. He is passionate about te reo Māori (the Māori language), and language revitalisation is an important topic in his collection.

He says that one of the implications of the Politics of Love is that animal agriculture must end:

"There is an incredible amount of suffering in the world, and most of that suffering is experienced by the animals who we use for food. Around 10 times as many animals as there are people are raised for food, and most of these are kept in appalling conditions and killed in horrific ways. This is unnecessary, and unloving."

He also suggests that love could help us to generate solutions to the climate crisis:

"If we were talking about global warming not only in terms of its implications for us as people, but for the planet that we love and for all its inhabitants, we would have even more reasons for taking the problem seriously. I think about some of the special places from my childhood - Rangiputa Beach, and Mount Maunganui - and how the climate crisis might affect them. I also think about the animals we share our world with: many of them are already being impacted by global warming, which is unfair and sad."

Mr McKibbin argues that the Politics of Love offers hope, as it encourages us to think carefully about what we value and how our decisions can help to bring about the sort of world we want to live in. It asks us to think about how our individual actions can create change, and it suggests a framework for collective decision-making which expresses love.

Love Notes: for a Politics of Love by Philip McKibbin is available on Amazon, Book Depository, and from Unity Books. You can learn more about it here:

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